[文摘] Radner et co. on the future of the church

Amidst the political turmoil in Taiwan, I wrote an article last month concerning Christian discernment on political engagement that concludes itself by suggesting a re-focus on centrality of unity of eschatology for our being as church.

Then here now I stumbled upon this conference report written by Peter J. Leithart on First Things about « the future of the church » that covers exactly the same themes.

Source Link: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/09/learned-ignorance (Peter J. Leithart )

The four speakers are (I’d like to draw special attention to the first two):

– Pentecostal theologian Simon Chan, Ernest Lau Professor of Systematic Theology at of Trinity Theological College in Singapore, author of Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith from the Ground Up (2014)

– Anglican theologian Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto School of Theology;  author of A Brutal Unity: the Spiritual Politics of the Christian Church (2012)

– Catholic priest Fr. Tom Rausch, T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount

– Fred Sanders, a self-described “low-church Evangelical” who teaches at Biola.

F

As for this article, it does less in offering fresh thoughts for me than restating more explicitly what I consider very critical affirmations for protestant evangelicals:

1.
The contingent historical formations of the Church—Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, whatever—do not have ontological standing; they are not the referent for what the New Testament calls “the Church.” The future Church, the Church founded on the divine word, is a single, unified body. The entire history of the churches is one of purification and purgation, as churches are transformed and ultimately subsumed into the one body that is the Bride of Christ. ….We strive to be a Church of which we are ignorant. (Radner)

2.
//“Do you know Jesus?” Evangelicals don’t want to know whether you are a church member, or whether you can recite catechism or creed, or whether you’ve received the sacraments. The question is: “Do you know Jesus?”

Evangelicalism is a relentless protest against every form of nominal, complacent, self-satisfied Christianity. It is a prophetic demand that Christian faith be more than lip service.

…Evangelicalism isn’t a church but a movement.// (Sanders)

3.
//Evangelicalism’s prophetic stance need not undermine commitment to the Church. The question, “Do you know Jesus?” needs to be posed in… know[ing] the Jesus who is the new Adam, who gives himself for a Bride… the Jesus who gave his life to break down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, the Jesus who was killed for transgressing apparently eternal boundaries… the Jesus who said, “Do this,” and implied, “Do this together?” … the Jesus who dwells by the Spirit in your brother, whatever church that brother might join… the Jesus who prayed that the disciples would be one as the Father and Son are one.

…[U]nity is found wherever one believer gives himself for another believer, because there we see the imprint of the cross, where Jesus gave himself for his Bride. If we truly know Jesus, then we will be conformed to his self-giving, which is the source of the Church’s unity.// (Radner & Leithart)

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